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Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Changing Autumn Leaves

Well, it has been officially Autumn for six days now. And I can’t be happier! I love Autumn. It is such an inspiring season for me. Maybe it’s because our forests are ablaze with colours of reds, oranges and yellows. Maybe it’s because it’s my favourite time of year for fashion. Maybe it's seeing all the animals in their missions of gathering food and migrating south for the winter. Maybe it's the warm, golden days and the chilly nights that are nice and comfortable for sleeping. It's that happy medium; you don't need your air conditioner anymore, but you can still leave your windows open to let the autumn breeze in. Or maybe it's because it is simply a season of change. And in the mind of a writer, Autumn has a lot to offer.

Golden field near Oshawa, Ontario.

For a writer, the setting is incredibly important in setting the mood and feel of a story. One of the most prolific writers, Shakespeare, had this notion down to a fine art. The setting of all of works was just as important as the works themselves. Romeo and Juliet was set in Verona, Italy; a hot backdrop to a story of romantic love and passion. Hamlet was set in Denmark, a cool country where a story of betrayal and cold blooded murder took place. A Midsummer Night's Dream (probably my favourite of Shakespeare's works) takes place in a forest, a place of intrigue and mystery.

In writing, not only is place important, but time. Each season has a different meaning: Spring is for newness, renewal, new beginnings, and birth; Summer is for coming into one's own, for passion and love; Autumn is for change, a change of pace, scenery or a change in oneself; Winter is for letting go, for letting things end, and for death.

For me, I love setting my stories in the season of Autumn because there is so much going on. The Pangaea Trilogy begins in mid-November. Originally, it was because it was set on a friend's birthday. Well, it still begins on that friend's birthday, but the situation surrounding it changed. Within the first few chapters, the main characters go through changes they never imagined they'd go through. The Autumn season is the perfect time for those changes to happen. One character learns to let go in the first winter spent in Pangaea, another finds strength they never knew they had come Spring. A third character learns to accept themselves the way they are in the Summer and the fourth changes their way of thinking the next fall.

Each season comes with its own beauty and elegance. Everything is new and green in the Spring; Summer is warm and fragrant; Autumn is colourful and golden; and Winter is soft and tranquil. Each season has something to offer us, something to teach us if we pay close enough attention.

Colourful changing leaves; photo found at

Autumn teaches us that change is inevitable. The behaviour of the animals around us teach us that, despite the inevitability of change, we can always prepare for it in our own ways. Maybe we gather provisions like the Squirrel or seek a different scene like the Robin. Maybe we choose to hibernate like the Bear, or maybe we stick together and make the most of it like the Wolf and the resident Canada Goose. Whatever we do, we must encounter birth, life, change and death, just like the nature we share our world with.

This Autumn, what changes are you being faced with? How are you preparing for them?